Reading List: July/August 2013

 

 

– The Darkest Road (The Fionavar Tapestry #3)      ~     Guy Gavriel Kay

– The Ocean at the End of the Lane                         ~     Neil Gaiman

– Old Man’s War                                                        ~     John Scalzi

– The Hydrogen Sonata             ~     Iain M. Banks (he willed be greatly missed)

 

Comics:

– Requiem (Volumes 1 – 5)                        ~     Pat Mills & Olivier Ledroit

– Saga (Issues 1 – 12)                               ~     Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples 

 

 

My Goodreads page is here.

 

 

 

Pick of the Week (past/present/future)

 

This week I have been appreciating the work of Matt Berry: actor, writer, comedian, and musician. I’m finding his recently released psych-folk concept album Kill the Wolf mightily superb. It really does reward repeat listening. 

As for Berry’s comedic acting, you may know him from Graham Linehan‘s The IT Crowd or as the character Dixon Bainbridge in the first series of the sublime The Mighty Boosh, probably my favourite comedy show of all time.

This week I’ve been watching two of the more obscure shows he’s been involved with, the first being Snuff Box, which he wrote and which co-stars Rich Fulcher, another stalwart of The Mighty Boosh. Berry also composed the music for Snuff Box, a snippet of which curiously appears in the 2012 movie Dredd, emanating from a computer terminal in the Grand Hall of Justice…

The second obscurity is Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace. If there is such a thing as hauntological TV this is it: the six episode series is presented by fictional horror author Merenghi, who introduces selections from a (fictional) never shown low budget cult 80’s supernatural horror hospital drama, Darkplace

The series is a spoofing masterpiece, complete with deliberately wooden acting, bad special effects, and preposterous story lines. It was created by Matthew Holness, who plays Garth Merenghi and Dr. Rick Dagless, M.D in Darkplace, and Richard Ayoade, who plays Merenghi’s publisher Dean Learner and hospital administrator Thornton Reed in Darkplace. Richard Ayoade also co-stars in The IT Crowd and plays a shaman in The Mighty Boosh. Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding from The Mighty Boosh also make appearances in Darkplace. Matt Berry plays Todd Rivers, an actor who plays Dr. Lucien Sanchez in Darkplace.

Episode One of Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace is below, and the rest can be found on You Tube as well. If you’ve never seen it, you’re in for one hell of a ride!

 

 

Also check out the movie Bunny and the Bull, directed by writer-director Paul King, who also directed The Mighty Boosh and associate directed Garth Merenghi’s Dark Place.  If you’re not aware of all this stuff, I’ve just opened a Pandora’s Box of magnificent surreal comedy for you. There’s more to be found if you keep digging. You’re welcome! 

 

 

Pines is the new solo project of Lost Trail‘s Zachary Corsa, and this album, A Spirit has been released on tape by the Patient Sounds label. Not quite as drenched in the beauty of decay as the music of Lost Trail, A Spirit is a wondrous melodic journey through a haunted forest, with Corsa branching out onto the banjo and toy dulcimer as well as his usual guitar, piano, loops, and field recordings.

   

I’ve been enjoying this slice of hazy lazy techno house stuff by Patricia on Opal Tapes, and you might too.

 

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Engravings is the new album from Forest Swords about to drop on Monday 26th August. An exotic adventure in tribal rhythm, dub, and drone, with hazed vocals and interesting instrumentation, the album is currently available to stream via Pitchfork here.

 

Demdike Stare have produced a great mix for the Secret Thirteen online music and art journal which you can listen to and download here.

 

 

Experimental techno/noise/drone artist Laica has two new releases imminent: Environs on the excellent Alrealon Musique label, an excerpt of which can be heard above, as well as an EP on the Phatic Musk label, a teaser for which is below. Definitely something to look forward to!

 

 

And while I’m teasing, there’s a teaser for the follow up to Robin the Fog‘s magnificent radiophonic haunt The Ghosts of Bush below…

 

 

 

Above is a one track preview and pre-order of the new album from jazz beat maestro Hello Skinny. Excellent.

 

Ethereal gothic songstress Chelsea Wolfe has a new album imminent: Pain is Beauty. The above track The Waves Have Come is a delicious taster. 

 

 

This post-rock drone excursion Where have all the Aliens gone? by Helicopter Quartet is deep and mesmerising.

 

I leave you with a new kraut/komische/electronica/post-rock/haunt mix I put together under the influence of my alter ego The Ephemeral Man. It’s called Seven tethered trobairitz gaze quixotically into the Eye of Gomorrah.  

 

 

 

 

Pick of the Week (past/present/future)

 

Hey there grÖÖvy cÅts, and welcome to another selection of things I’ve been enjoying over the past week…

 

 

Revolt of the Jungle Monsters is a blistering return to the spirit of 90’s Jungle music, and boy it sounds great! It must have been ’94 when I lived in Luton (UK) for a while, and Jungle was massive

I wasn’t aware of Sheffield Junglist Kid Lib, or the fact that the Jungle scene is still thriving underground until I came across this brilliant album (The cover art’s pretty ace too). There’s plenty other releases on Kid Lib‘s Bandcamp, so be sure to click through. 

 

 

Swimming Trunks is a magnificent four-way split release on the excellent Space Slave label. Two of my most favourite synth komische-makers are here, Norm Chambers (who I also featured last week) and Günter Schlienz, as well as Kyle Landstra and Cliffsides – each with just under 30 minutes of music each. The double tape release has sold out, but you can buy the whole lot digitally for only $3, which is an incredible bargain. Highly recommended.

 

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I watched Upstream Colour about three weeks ago, and I’m still thinking about it, which is a very good thing. It is strange and beguiling and fascinating and beautiful. The dialogue in the film is relatively minimal; it’s very much an immersive audio/visual experience. I don’t want to show you the trailer because I believe that it’s best to go into the film fresh, and the trailer really doesn’t give a good indication of what the experience is like anyway. For the same reasons, I don’t want to tell you much about the plot either, so instead I’m providing you with the excellent soundtrack and am going to show you some images from the film, to try and convey a sense of the aesthetic.

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Upstream Colour is an existential fantasy: a perplexing, invigorating and touching experience that I highly recommend.

One other thing: Shane Carruth writes, directs, scores, produces, and stars in his films. This is an independent film of the highest order, and Carruth may well be a genuis. It is now essential that I watch his first film, Primer, which is apparently about “the accidental discovery of a means of time travel.”  

If you still need some convincing about whether or not you should make watching Upstream Colour a priority, or want to find out more, you can read a good interview with Shane Carruth here

(Or you could watch the film first, and then read the interview…)

Also Upstream Colour related, there’s a interview with Andrew Sensenig, who plays the mysterious field recording composer and pig farmer credited as The Sampler, here, and there’s a good piece about the film by The New Yorker here.

 

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Constant readers may recall me gushing about the anime Shingeki no Kyojin: Attack on Titan a few weeks ago. Well, I’m all up to date with it now, still really enjoying it, and have to wait a whole week for a new episode now, so I looked for another anime to watch because I’m enjoying having a regular 23ish minute slice of animated awesome. (I’ve found that a 23ish minute slice of tv is great for late at night with a bowl of cereal; I’m also going through season 6 & 7 of Futurama, and the brilliant Wilfred  the American version with Elijah Wood)

I remember seeing a promo for the anime Ergo Proxy a few years ago, and thought it looked good: dark, mysterious, and mature, with no super kawaii school girls in sight – so I thought I’d give that a go, and it’s very good indeed.  

It’s set in a domed city many years after a global ecological disaster, where humans coexist with AutoReiv (android) companions in a closely managed futuristic society. Re-l Mayer of the Security Bureau, and her AutoReiv partner, Iggy, are assigned to investigate a series of murders committed by AutoReivs infected with the Cogito virus, which causes them to become self-aware. Meanwhile, the government is conducting experiments on a strange being called a Proxy

The series is darkly artistic, abstract, and atmospheric. There are 23 episodes in total and I’ve only watched 4 so far, but am very much enjoying it.  

 

Finally, it’s time for the: 

Random Mysterious Excellent Blog For You To Go Explore!

 

This time a blog called Sub-Machine Gun, where stills from old B-movies are posted with oblique captions. This quietly surreal humour merrily bewilders me. The blog can be found here, but I’ll leave you with some of my recent favourites…   

Awakening 10

Awakening of the Beast (1970)

G of the NT 01

Girls of the Night Traffic (1976)

Hunchback 04

Hunchback of the Morgue (1973)

Iron Claw 01

                                     Iron-Claw the Pirate (1969)

Iron Claw 05

Iron Claw the Pirate (1969)

La Decima Vittima.1965.DVDRip.Xvid-CG.avi_snapshot_00.58.14_[2013.01.26_14.17.53]

The Tenth Victim (1965)

Nude Vampire

The Nude Vampire (1970)

SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF A MINOR Octfest.avi_snapshot_01.24.24_[2013.05.10_20.47.27]

Suspicious Death Of A Minor (1975)

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Terrifying Girls’ High School: Lynch Law Classroom (1972)

 

 

 

 

Pick of the Week (past/present/future)

 

Another batch of mind-bending music this week, starting with an exciting slice of modern krautrock by a group using the moniker Faux Brut.

 

 

The band is led by Californian artist and musician Choncey Langford, whose own Bandcamp page (which can be found here) includes an April 2012 release called Faux Brut, which is brilliant too. Indeed, all of Langford’s work is worth checking out.

Further burrowing down the rabbit hole reveals that the first track of the 2012 Faux Brut has a guest vocal from one Morgan Delt, a presumed pseudonym inspired by the 1966 British comedy Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment, which is about  eponymous hero .. working-class artist Morgan Delt (David Warner), obsessed with Karl Marx and gorillas, who tries to stop his ex-wife (Vanessa Redgrave) from remarrying.

Morgan Delt‘s own impressive psychedelic debut Psychic Death Hole can be found here.

 

 Curiouser and curiouser

 

 

Cortex Meridian is an album of sublime synthtopian kosmische dreamscapes by Norm Chambers aka Panabrite, whose talents I admire more with every release. The album was released as part of the second batch of summer tapes from one of my favourite labels, Constellation Tatsu. Another of the same batch, Stolen Highway by Grapefruit, is another rich and vibrant synthtopian dream; so good that I had to include it here too.

 

 

And there’s a link to Norm Chambers own Panabrite Bandcamp page right here.

 

Onward to the latest release from the Travin Systems label, the first of a series of short tapes called Travin Miniatures. 15 minutes of splendid acid drone slow techno to bobble along to:

 

 

And finally, how about some Japanese psychedelia to liven up your day? The eponymous album by Kikagaku Moyo is just brilliant, and a snip at 300 Japanese Yen, which is about $3.20 Canadian dollars, or £2.

 

 

As always, I’d like to encourage you to click on some of the links above and show the musicians some well deserved support.

Until next time…

 

 

                                                  

 

 

 

Peddling my Wares

 

Gratuitous self promotion alert! Here are some of my available creations, and some of the things to come…

 

CREEPS

Creeps is my collection of dark fantasy short stories. You can buy it for 5 Canadian dollars, which is about £3.15, by clicking the button below. If you prefer to try before you buy, you can read one of the stories here, and an extract of another here. There’s also a nice review by my friend Clare here.

Creeps can be bought here.

My first album as The Ephemeral Man is called Nacreous Clouds, and is an epic hauntological journey into sci-fi drone and ambient electronica. It’s more than 1hr 40 mins long, and is available to listen and download for any price you like below.

 

Nacreous Clouds is also available as a lovingly crafted (by my wife Natasha) limited double-disc edition for only £6. There are a variety of designs. A couple of examples are in the pics below.

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You can by the limited edition CD version of Nacreous Clouds here.

 

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There are about 10 copies left of the collaborative zine Wyrd Daze that I compiled. Limited to 50 copies, the feedback from people who have bought the zine so far has been really great. I’m very proud of it. The full list of contents is below – the music comes as a download code.

WRITING

– The Everlasting Girl by Clare Applegate

– Communique by Zachary Corsa

– Glory of Glormorsel by Berit Ellingsen

– Vandals by Pete Hackett

– Home by Nathaniel James

– Burden by Kek-w

– Thresholds by James Knight

– The Blackberry Ghost by Chris Lambert

– Lusum Magnetite by Chris Lambert

– Silent Streets: Awakening by C S

– Arthur Chance and the Lacuna Breeze by Leigh Wright

ART

– The Stranger by Matt Bower

– Map of Mistakes by Declan Kelly

– Thresholds by James Knight

– Wyrd Daze 11 & 12 by April Larson

– Beneath the Water by Dom Murphy

MUSIC

This download compilation contains exclusive tracks by Hacker Farm, The Revenant Sea, Lost Trail, April Larson, Chris Lambert, Declan Kelly and The Ephemeral Man. There are also two rarities by Concretism, and tracks from the latest releases by oh/ex/oh and Cloud Waste and the Calf.

– Plan 9 by The Ephemeral Man

– Resonance Picture Machine by The Revenant Sea

– The Blackberry Picker by Chris Lambert

– Heart of the Blackberry Field by Chris Lambert

– The Vandals by Cloud Waste and the Calf

– Drainstorm by The Ephemeral Man

– Playtime by Concretism

– Automated Bitcoin Mining Bloc by Hacker Farm

– You Are Now Exiting Harbor House by April Larson

– Reliquary by The Ephemeral Man

– Microwave Towers by Concretism

– Bleach Bypass by Lost Trail

– Foothills by Declan Kelly

– Beneath the Water by oh/ex/oh

– Wyrd Daze by The Ephemeral Man

I only charge for the shipping of Wyrd Daze, but any added donations would be most welcome. You can purchase here.

I also produced an extended CD version of The Ephemeral Man‘s contribution to Wyrd Daze, with two extra tracks that cannot be found anywhere else. It’s limited to 25 copies, and is going for just £3 here.

 

 

Above is a suite of music that I composed for The Famulus Journal. It’s downloadable for any price you wish, and comes with a PDF of a story I wrote for the journal called Raven and the Boggart.

 

BOX1

There is a very limited Box of Ephemera, which contains the CD version of Nacreous Clouds, a hand-written copy of my short story collection, Creeps, 36 printed photographs, an “inspirational dice game” and an original piece of art on an 8 x 6 inch canvas board. There will only ever be 10 of these, and they are going for just £30, plus shipping.

BOX2

There’s also a digital version of the Box of Ephemera for £6 here.

So that’s the lot. If you made it this far, thank you for giving me the opportunity to peddle! If you are able to spend a little money, that would be really great. If not, please feel free to listen, read, and download what’s available anyway. I hope you enjoy!

Now for some news of future projects…

I’m working on my first novel, which is currently into it’s second draft. It’s about five people who are saved from the brink by the mysterious Mr. Normal, who sends each of them off on an errand through doors that lead to a variety of different worlds. It’s the first book of a series that I hope to develop.

I’ve proposed an idea for a writer and reader group called Bookends. Read more here.

I’ve composed a track called Ragnarok for The Dark. Outside project, where 24 hrs of previously unreleased music will be played in the Scottish wilderness. Find out more about the project here.

I’ve contributed a track to a forthcoming Alrealon Musique compilation celebrating the 5 years anniversary of the label. The track is called Doom, and is part of what may well develop into a War of the Worlds-like sci-fi concept album. 

The next Ephemeral Man album is simmering away nicely, but has no definite release date as of yet. It’s something of a techno-drone odyssey, and will be released on tape. More details to follow.

Wyrd Daze may continue as a subscription based product. I’m still musing over and working out details, but if you’re interested in contributing or finding out more, leave me a comment, or message me on Twitter: @Leigh_Wright_